In recent years, engineered hardwood flooring has become an increasingly popular choice among homebuyers. But there has also been some debate over whether engineered hardwood is a good alternative to solid hardwood flooring. Are there noticeable differences? Is engineered wood the same as laminate? Will engineered wood wear out more quickly? Does it look and feel the same as solid wood?
These are questions a lot of customers have about engineered hardwood flooring. To eliminate confusion and help you make informed choices, let’s discuss some key things you need to know about it.
Engineered Wood Is Actual Hardwood.
“Engineered” does not mean “artificial,” nor is it a laminate. Hardwood flooring is made of actual hardwood. The top layer, or wear layer, is a solid piece of hardwood (usually 1/16” to 1/8” thick). The core consists of multiple bonded layers of plywood. It’s not “solid” in the sense that it’s a natural wood plank cut from a tree, but there’s nothing about it that’s fake. It’s real wood that’s been engineered for strength and durability.
Engineered Wood Flooring Technology Has Consistently Improved.
When engineered flooring first emerged in the 1960s, you could definitely tell the difference between solid hardwood and engineered wood–both in appearance and quality. But like most things, manufacturers have continually found ways to improve it. Today, the naked eye cannot tell the difference. Engineered flooring comes in virtually any style, color, or finish as solid hardwood.
Engineered Wood Can Be Sanded and Refinished.
Some people mistakenly believe that with engineered flooring, damage can’t be repaired or refinished. That’s inaccurate. Since the top layer of engineered wood is solid hardwood, it can be sanded down and refinished just like any other hardwood floor. In fact, depending on the thickness, it can usually be done several times through its life expectancy. (This is not true of laminate flooring, which cannot be refinished.)
Engineered Wood Comes in Varying Degrees of Quality.
Not all engineered hardwood is created equal. Different manufacturers produce them using different methods–and with varying degrees of quality. If you’ve heard stories about engineered floors wearing out too soon or losing their finish, it’s likely because it was a low-quality grade of engineered flooring. When manufactured to premium quality, engineered hardwood performs just as well as solid wood flooring–if not better.
Quality Engineered Hardwood Can Last (Almost) as Long as Solid Wood Floors.
We all know that solid hardwood floors can last a lifetime with proper care–sometimes 100 years or more. While lower grades of engineered wood can’t be expected to last that long, the thicker, well-made varieties have a life expectancy of up to 80 years. Since most people will replace their hardwood floors before then, anyway, the difference for most people is irrelevant.
Engineered Hardwood Doesn’t Suffer from Cupping or Crowning.
One notable advantage of engineered wood over solid wood is that engineered wood floors are resistant to changes in temperature and humidity. As a result, they’re not in danger of suffering damage from cupping or crowning the way solid wood floors are. This is a particularly useful benefit to Green Country homeowners considering that Oklahoma’s hot, humid summers and cool, dry winters can do a number on wood floors.
Engineered Wood Is a More Affordable Option.
Finally, for homeowners who want the look and feel of hardwood flooring but might not have the budget for it, engineered wood flooring presents a great alternative. It’s more affordable than solid wood, and as we’ve just discussed, it’s just as beautiful and durable with proper care. So for those on a budget, the look of hardwood is no longer out of reach.
For our customers who desire it as an option, Renaissance selects only the best grades of engineered hardwood flooring to install in homes and businesses. That way, our customers can rest assured that they’re only getting the highest levels of quality they’ve come to expect from us and that their floors are built to last. Contact us here to schedule a free evaluation and a quote on your next flooring project.